It entered my content circle yesterday about the new idea from CGP Grey about Project Cyclops. He also made a video and blog post going further into his idea about it. The general idea is Grey has noticed his attention has been lost due to attention hording sites like Reddit, Twitter, Hacker News and Podcasts. His idea is the follow:
So, effective immediately and through the end of the year: No hacker news No reddit (including the threads on my own subreddit) No listening to podcasts. No twitter posts or @ replies. No Instagram.
It’s a very interesting experiment and what it means for content producers of which Grey is a very large one himself. Grey is essentially admitting that not only are social media and the news media a distraction, but even his own content in podcasts and You Tube are bad for our attention. Not only is he planning to stop listening to Podcasts, but he suggests you do the same. This is an interesting idea from someone who creates podcasts for part of his income. Also has a coworker (Myke Hurley) whose entire living is made from podcasts.
That said I’ve often found myself getting sucked into content like podcasts when I am able to put down the other distractions. For those unfamiliar with CGP Grey he is a very popular You Tube creator who explains ideas using animated videos. He also hosts a podcast called Hello Internet and another called Cortex. To say CGP Grey is different would be an understatement. He’s always been a very detached from the internet kind of guy and doesn’t even have an email app on his phone for fear of distraction.
So as I’ve heard others say if Reddit, Twitter and Podcasts can drain his attention then how can the rest of us hope to avoid the pitfalls. I recently did a phone clean out of distracting apps, but noticed often when I do this I increase my podcasts I follow in a sort of compensation for loss of distraction. This is exactly what I should be avoiding.
I’m going to unfollow all but only a few podcasts right now as I try to see if I should completely stop podcasts. I’m currently still following a few shows by Merlin Mann (who also touches on the attention economy as well) and want to follow Cortex to see if Myke discusses this on that show and what it means for a Podcast Producer.
The thing that strikes me the most here is that someone making a living off content is blatantly telling us it’s not a good use of your time. What should we take from that or how should we view someone “selling” what they consider to be a poor use of your time. I don’t discount or discourage Grey for doing this, but it’s still something I think about all the same.